Market systems approaches, or Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) are approaches to poverty reduction that
donors such as DFID, Sida and SDC have been supporting over the past few years.
The central idea is that the poor are dependent on market systems for their livelihoods.
Therefore changing those market systems to work more effectively and sustainably
for the poor will improve their livelihoods and consequently reduce poverty.
"The last few years have seen an upsurge of interest in market development approaches
amongst aid agencies. Alongside M4P there is UNDP's Growing Inclusive Markets, the
IADB's Opportunities for the Majority and the IFC's Next Four Billion. Amongst businesses,
there is growing interest in social investment, sustainable business practices,
fair trade and engaging with the Base of the (Economic) Pyramid. Although terminology
and emphasis may differ, all of these approaches see a market-based economic engagement
with the poor as essential for sustainable development." (M4P
page provides a comprehensive introduction to a wide range of links and documents
relating to Making Markets Work - in most cases, explicitly for the Poor.
The DCED also co-facilitated an M4P Peer Learning Event in May 2013. This focused on six themes: designing and implementing M4P strategies, negotiating deals, team structures and capacity building, managing for impact, working in thin markets, and working alongside direct approaches. An event report with programme perspectives on the six themes is available here.
on specific market development programmes or projects from all over the world, for
all phases of the project cycle, please refer to the DCED's Value Chain Database
at www.Value-Chains.org. Reports focusing on Inclusive Business Models that engage with the poor as producers and consumers can be found here.
Examples of the
application of the DCED's Standard for results measurement to M4P programmes
can be found here.
This page contains useful information and resources on M4P under the following groupings:
Suggestions for additions to this page are welcome at any time.
Click here to contact the DCED Secretariat.
Overview and Strategy Documents
M4P in Context
This section lists resources on various M4P sub-topics, including reflections on
the approach, analyses of the role of M4P for pro-poor development, and information
about market development in sectors that go beyond 'core' PSD work, such as water
and sanitation, health care, and environmental services.
M4P, growth and poverty reduction
Market approaches to social and basic service delivery
Several blog posts discuss the role of the private sector in the provision of basic
services – such as health, education and water supply. A common thread is
the argument that private providers already play a key role in providing poor people
with access to basic services, and that governments can make better use of this
opportunity through partnerships and appropriate policies towards private providers.
- Oxfam from Poverty to Power Blog (25 July 2012):
Do Poor People Need Private Schools?, by Justin Sandefur, Center for Global
Development, and Holding out
for the super-voucher, a response by Kevin Watkins, Brookings Institution
- World Bank PSD Blog (6 June 2011): How Governments Can Engage the
Private Sector to Improve Health in Africa, by Connor Spreng and Ifelayo Peter Ojo
- World Bank PSD Blog (19 May 2011): A New Breed of Private Sector:
Entrepreneurs and Urban Water, by Julia Bucknall
- Beyondprofit Blog Series on Affordable Private Schools (September 2010 - March 2011):
1 Billion Idle Minds or 1 Billion Opportunities, by Lindsay Clinton;
The Power of the Private Sector, by Irene Pritzker; Private Education for the Poor, by Abby Ballard
Water and Sanitation
- Coetzer, Pierre
and Nicolas Pascarel (2012): Primary Health Care at the Base of the Pyramid. RTT's
Unjani Clinic Model, A B4D Pathfinder Case Study.
- USAID Strengthening Health
Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project website
The World Bank: Healthy partnerships. How governments can engage the private sector
to improve health in Africa (2011)
- Bloom, G.;
Champion, C.; Lucas, H., Peters, D. and Standing, H.: Making Health Markets Work
Better for Poor People: Improving Provider Performance, Future Health Systems Working
Paper 6, 2009. (Future
Health Systems website)
Eldis Health Insights: Making Health Markets Work for the Poor (March 2009)
e-Zine on Investing in the Health Sector in Africa (2008)
- The State of
Health in Bangladesh. Who constitutes the Health Workforce? Bangladesh HealthWatch
- Private Health Policy Toolkit, World Bank Group
Discussions and Proceedings
The following materials summarise discussions and proceedings of workshop, seminars
and other events on M4P.
Design and Implementation
This section lists generic documents on the design and implementation of M4P programmes.
It includes value chain analysis guides, which exemplify the application of an M4P
lens to value chain analysis.
M4P Programmes and Case Studies
Below you can find case studies and overviews of selected M4P programmes and projects.
For more comprehensive programme- and project-specific information, please refer
Older programme summaries and case studies
** These case studies form part of a series prepared primarily by the Springfield
Centre, on behalf of the Fauno Consortium for the Employment and Income Division
of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation(SDC).
2nd Image courtesy of djembe / 123RF Stock Photo; 3rd image courtesy of Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi.